Mark the 21st November 2013 in your diary. Today is the day that Mayor Boris Johnson declared war on the people of London. Today is the day that he announced plans to devastate safety on the London Underground network. Today is the day that he abandoned all pretence of caring for ordinary Londoners who daily use the system. Today is the day that he decided to sacrifice the network to Tory dogma.
He has announced plans to
a) Shut every ticket office on the London Underground
b) Make all trains driverless.
I am sure that I'll have a few right wing pundits who never use the service leaving stupid comments. I use the network on an almost daily basis and it is clear to me that the plans are wrong headed.
1. How will elderly/disabled people who have difficulties using machines manage?
2. How will tourists with difficulties manage?
3. What will happen if your Oyster card packs up?
4. How will you renew your season ticket?
5. What will happen if you have a problem?
6. Who will you ask for travel guidance & assistance?
1. What will happen if there is a safety issue in the tunnel, such as the 7/7 bomb?
2. What will happen if there is an incident on the train or an ambulance needs calling?
3. What will happen if the emergency chord is pulled?
4. Who will report intruders on the line or in tunnels?
5. Who will inform passengers if there are delays/problems?
6. Who will clear doors etc of obstructions?
The above are just a few points I thought of. I rarely see a ticket office without a large queue, especially at busy times. On journeys, it is rare for there to be no interaction with the driver. Usually because people are blocking doors, but I've seen drivers calling ambulances when people have had heart attacks. I shudder to think what would have happened on 7/7, a day I used the tube, without the drivers and the station staff.
This plan has clearly been dreamed up by a management team who hold the needs and safety of passengers in total contempt. I have one question. If as George Osborne says, the economy is in rude good health, how come London needs to cut £80 million from the budget of London Underground. Doesn't George and Boris realise that London is the engine of the London Economy. If these savage cuts occur, people will get injured and killed. Boris and George clearly couldn't give a toss (or is that ATOS).